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Scaffold Accidents: Leading Cause of Construction Injuries and Deaths

Construction sites and scaffolding go together like peanut butter and jelly. Think about it. When was the last time you worked on a construction site that didn’t have one or more scaffolds in place? The problem, however, is that these structures are just as dangerous as they are necessary.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that upwards of 65% of construction workers perform much of their work while perched on a scaffold. U.S. Department of Labor statistics reveal that falls account for 60% of construction worker deaths nationwide, and 25% of these falls result from injuries received in a fall from scaffolding.

Scaffolding Injury Causes

Falls from scaffolding can occur from a number of causes, including the following:

  • A defect in the scaffold’s design
  • Inferior materials used in its construction
  • Failure to properly install it
  • Failure to properly inspect and maintain it
  • Failure to provide hazard-free access to it
  • Failure to provide workers with proper scaffold safety equipment
  • Failure to provide workers with proper scaffold training
  • Failure to stop work in the event of high winds or other unfavorable weather conditions

OSHA Scaffold Regulations

As you might expect, OSHA sets forth numerous scaffolding regulations. One requires that a scaffold must be able to safely hold four times its own weight. Another mandates that a scaffold must also be able to safely hold four times the weight of any load its specifications call for, and its suspension ropes must be able to safely hold six times the weight called for in their specifications.

Other OSHA regulations require that, if your construction company uses a scaffold, it must appoint a “competent person” to inspect both the scaffold and all required worker safety equipment before the beginning of each and every work shift.

The list of personal safety equipment your employer must provide you when requiring you to work on a scaffold includes the following:

  • A body belt
  • A harness
  • An anchor
  • A trolley line
  • A dropline
  • A lanyard

Post-Accident Options

Unfortunately, despite all these regulations, serious scaffolding accidents continue to occur. If you become the victim of one, your wisest strategy is to contact an experienced Kingsport Workers Compensation Lawyer, like The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, as soon as possible after your accident. He or she not only can guide you through the intricacies of filing a workers’ compensation claim but also can advise you whether or not you can file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer and/or the scaffold’s manufacturer as well.

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